John A. Swenson, M.D., died April 6, 2009, at the age of , due to kidney failure.
The son of Andrew Elmer and Johanna So-phia (Moen) Swenson of Jamestown, North Dakota, he was born De-cember 20, 1927 in James-town, North Dakota, enlisted and served in the U.S. Marine Corp upon graduation from Jamestown High School in 1946, graduated from Jamestown College 1950, received his two-year diploma from the University of North Dakota Medical School 1952, and his M.D. from the University of Nebraska 1954.
Dr. Swenson is memorialized by the John A. Swenson Student Health Services at the University of North Dakota, named in his honor in 1998. During 18 years as the Director of Student Health, he revolutionized its scale and methods, bringing it from a one-nurse infirmary to a full-service medical facility that included many innovations making care accessible and affordable. His small-town doctoring approach remained constant even as Student Health grew to serving annually over 30,000 out-patients. Dr. Swenson was revered for his personal phone calls to students examined the day before, to see how they were progressing. The deeply personal heart of medicine beat for him from his earliest days as a physician: as a young resident at St. Luke’s Hospital in Fargo, he looked forward to his weekly visits with a boy who was being treated by specialists there for a disease that would ultimately prove fatal. After each “consultation,” the boy would pay Dr. Swenson with a stick of gum, to the doctor’s delight.
Dr. Swenson is survived by his wife of 37 years, Maurita; children and grandchildren including son-in-law Michael Flannery of Grand Forks; Paul Andrew Swenson and his wife Josephine and daughter Joanna of St. Paul, MN; Carol Swenson and her husband Roger Asleson and daughter Grace of Yountville, CA; Janet Swenson and son Michael of Columbus, OH; and Joanne Swenson and her husband John Thorbeck and children Erik and Siri of Portland, OR. His prior marriage to Marilyn (Zeller) Swenson, who lives in Fargo, ended in divorce. His step-daughter, Cynthia (Westfall) Flannery died in 2007.
Memorial Service: Will be held Monday, May 4, 2009 at the Hopper-Danley Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, at 3:50 p.m., with a reception following at the chapel. Parking for the chapel is available nearby at 3285 Davis Drive.
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